We still have not bought the skis, so we thought that snowshoeing would be a nice alternative. We’ve only done it once before in Hokkaido, but not on maintained tracks but in steep unbroken snow and heavy snowfall. So, we planned a trip to Vercors this past Sunday, since the weather forecast promised some Sun, which we had missed so much lately!
One would imagine that living in the Alps, surrounded by four mountain ranges (the closest being just a 5-minute walk away), it would be a breeze to go skiing or enjoying any other snow related activities. Well, it is not! Yesterday it took us two and a half hour from our doorstep to reach the ski rental place in Montagnes de Lans: first 25 walking to the bus station, then 45 minutes by a regular bus service to Lans-en-Vercors, a 15-minute wait, and then finally another 45-minute (free) shuttle bus ride to the Montagnes. We would have saved at least one hour by driving.
We reached our destination and waited in a line at the ski rentals for another 15 minutes just to find out that they had run out of snow shoes. So, we had no other option but go walking in the snow in our hiking shoes.
We started up to Combe Oursière next to the skiing tracks, which was also the snowshoeing route. The tracks started the descent gently, and the snow was hard enough to walk on.
At some point we missed the spot where the snowshoeing route diverged from the skiing route, and we were met with a super steep uphill that the skiers (coming down fast) had made very slippery. We had to keep up the momentum and a good pace to advance — otherwise we would have just slid down. It was then we realized that we had also made a mistake not renting the poles. They would have made the ascent so much easier.
At Combe Oursière we saw quite a few skiers who had walked up another route, and were putting on more clothes before going down. I wonder how many times a day they are willing to do that?! It takes at least an hour or even two to walk up to access off piste downhill skiing.
It was a breeze for us to walk/slide down the snowshoeing track, which also was quite steep at places. The Sun finally came out when we were back at the shuttle bus stop, with another two and a half hours of travel ahead of us to reach home. The ratio of activity time to travel time was quite bad, which makes us consider other options …